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At the Cambie B-line stop today there was a man shouting in to the new skytrain station, probably, I thought, at the transit cops checking people's fare there. "There is no law in December!" he shouted. Was it a prophecy? It's not December yet, but I'll post my novels anyway.
CJ Cherryh, Precursor
CJ Cherryh, Defender
Elizabeth Bear, All the Windwracked Stars
CJ Cherryh, Explorer
I like the way that the focal and heroic action of the Foreigner series is diplomatic negotiation rather than violent conflict.

There was a talkative, raspy-voiced homeless woman on another of my buses to whom the other passengers seemed more hostile than is normal in that situation. That character is usually male in my experience, so I wonder if it was a gender thing? (Another hypothesis: the Olympics are exacerbating class tension. (Is it still legal to say that on the internet? TOPICAL HUMOUR.) But that's been going on for a while.) At any rate, I felt bad for her. There were these three teenagers in particular (though it wasn't just them) who started loudly making jokes about her presumed drug habit; they also spent a while imitating a broad Indian accent, which I think was unrelated. Stay classy, male teenagers.

Those Koodo gingerbread person ads progressed really quickly to autocannibalism! It's kind of the obvious place to go, but I wasn't really sure they would.

I got distracted while I was composing this, so then it became December after all.

P.S. I turned 26! A while ago, I mean. Now I must continue writing one million papers.
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A while ago I was attending to some errand on the sales floor of the store in whose bowels (until the start of next term) I work, and they were playing a version of "Santa Baby" sung by a man. I listened with a certain amount of curiosity, but was disappointed to hear that he was singing, "Think of all the girls that I could've kissed." Why do people covering songs across genders think that this sort of alteration is a good idea? This is a song about using one's feminine wiles to titillate Santa Claus into giving more presents, and the listener is presumably aware of that by the time they hear this rendition; if you're singing it in a male voice, then, you're already pretty in tension with our unconscious gender expectations. Why not just embrace that tension?

New paragraph, new topic. Do you remember the X-Files episode "Jose Chung's From Outer Space"? It concluded with the suggestion that, regardless of whether there were aliens visiting, we are each of us alone in the universe. That's not among the science fiction touchstones that John Hodgman, er, touches upon here, but he nonetheless produces something that reminds me strongly of it tonally while functioning as an elegant rebuttal -- an argument that, regardless, we are not.

Wednesday dumped several feet of snow on the gradually-less-incredulous city. Then, yesterday, suddenly, it was above zero again. It's been raining on and off since, and the snowbanks are slowly sloughing apart, though they remain still mostly intact, like in the morning when you know you've been dreaming, but the ludicrous events you remember still feel like something that could reasonably happen in the real world.
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It's been either snowing or below-freezing cold since Saturday. It's not a lot of snow; I mean, it's deeper than my ankles sometimes, but there hasn't been a blizzard or anything. But we live in Vancouver, so everyone is bewildered by it, and everything mundane that happens has an extra twist of surreality from the context. Who knows what other unwontedness might be waiting in familiar places so transformed? I understand that there have been significant power outages in some of the weirder suburbs. The buses lurch about late and overcrowded; on Saturday night, taken by surprise, many of them weren't running at all, and Isabel and I, who were out by UBC for movie night at Joanne's house, ended up after some struggle and confusion stranded and sleeping over on the floor of a friendly religion major with a passion for wine. The inane news radio station that provides background noise at my work has talked of very little else but the weather, possessed by what sounds to be a sort of panicked fascination.

Most people I know are pretty grumpy about the snow and the chaos both, but I am weirdly delighted by them. I guess that this is good for me, because my mother heard a long-term forecast suggesting we'll be snowing again on Sunday and on through the new year. If that holds true, then I think it will be the first white Christmas in my memory.

Speaking of my work, I intend to give my notice tomorrow; I will work through the Christmas break and then stop for the next term, because I am taking five courses and there really isn't room. This was my first traditionally menial job experience, and that was interesting albeit often irritating. What will you miss, Andy? I will miss the weathered, handwritten sign taped to the wall of the main bathroom, which reads,

HI, EVERYONE
     I AM JUST A TOILET, AND CANNOT DIGEST ANY HAND TOWEL.
THANKS FOR YOUR ATTENTION,
TOILET
MARCH 2001
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The precipitation was snow today for a while before dissolving into rain. The resulting slush has partially frozen again, and is very slippery. I had never actually been to the Cafe deux Soleil, though I've seen it from outside several times, and could not quite remember where on the Drive it was, so I rode the bus down the street and back up again before I spotted it and was able to turn my attention to not quite falling over on the way to the door.

Elise's new band (called 'La La Boom Boom') is good; 'joyous' is the right description. They do a complex, many-voiced pop that makes me think of the New Pornographers -- it's a little less scattered and sugary, but there's that same sense of adroit playfulness. I liked the way the violin came in high and shining over the other instruments.

They were preceded by some people doing spoken word poetry that I thought was rather silly -- one of them would have been better without the awkward rhyme scheme, though I think that generally my poetic sensibilities run sufficiently textual that I'm out of sympathy with the goals of the genre when it's not being performed by Ani DiFranco -- and followed by another band, all male and wearing dresses, who sang a surprisingly fun rendition of 'Amazing Grace' including the later verses I feel geeky for knowing, and a swing tune with what sounded like an interruption by an enraged Tom Waits. I sat in a booth with several people known to Elise. There was a brief conversation about which of the existentialists we could tolerate, which made me happy and simultaneously (perhaps because we were in a coffee shop) uneasy that I was becoming a caricature. A large bearded fellow with a thoughtful demeanor said that the atmosphere here made him feel like he was in Montreal; Vancouver, he said, is generally a more conservative city, containing fewer hippies and being more self-conscious about the ones it has. Having never really lived anywhere else, it's difficult for me to judge.

The thin snow on the sidewalk near my house showed at least as many animal tracks as human; at least one raccoon, I think, though I couldn't identify the rest. I made my own contribution and arrived back home, feeling embarrassed and internally dishevelled in a way that tells me I have overloaded on extroversion. But I am glad that I went.
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Rain has been everywhere, rain, rain! but today it is sunny again -- and not just sunny but clear, and golden, and cool but not cold. After a September and early October that were chill, grey and remote, and poignant as winter, and the past few weeks of deluge, the year has resolved after all at least for a moment into the kind of Autumn I like best.

Just because it has been cold doesn't mean that I have had a cold, as Harvey Keitel probably wouldn't say, but in fact both are the case. It's now almost gone (lingering only enough to interfere with my ability to sing high notes at parties), but it's been around for about as long as the rain has, the persistent descendant of the vague fever that incapacitated me over Thanksgiving weekend. (NB: I am Canadian.) My personal myth about that sickness is that it happened because I'd been under the stress of being so relentlessly anxious about school, which weakened my immune system; this may not actually be true, but it was a useful thing to think because it made me look at why I was anxious and realize that it was almost entirely about the enormous (by my own standards so far) term paper I need to write for the Honours seminar. Even when I was apparently reacting to some other, more immediate reason for stress, I was really going, "I have this homework to do now, and I have this 5000-word paper sitting on my future like a brick". Having had cause to look directly at my worry and sort it out into discrete concerns, instead of adding that major one to everything like that, has made the time since rather easier.

It's strange the degree to which part of what I have to worry about for school now is my grades, because there are scholarships etc.; I feel almost betrayed that these things, in their capacity as collectable tokens rather than as feedback, didn't remain irrelevant epiphenomena, even though I thought before that their irrelevance was one of the marks against them. It doesn't help that at least some of the courses at UBC undertake practises that totally undermine the usefulness of good marks except as somewhat arbitrary collectables, e.g. grading on a curve.

Music stuff that I have been meaning to mention:

There is a new Noe Venable album. Unsurprisingly, I think the free downloads are pretty great.

There is also a new Radiohead album. I haven't heard a thing off of it yet, but check out that distribution method!

Non-music stuff:

We're getting the libraries back! I wonder how the pay equity stuff worked out?

I have been invited to a Hallowe'en party. Maybe I ought to come up with a costume this year, after all.
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Coming home from UBC, I took the 99 to Broadway [edit: Broadway and Granville, that is] and then the 17 downtown (which isn't as weird as it might seem, since the 99 is fast enough that I caught a significantly earlier 17 than I would have if I'd taken it from school in the first place). On the 17 I sat next to a slim black woman in her forties; on her other side, sitting forward, instead of sideways like us, because he was at the very back of the bus, was a young asian man with 80s rock star hair, and on our way downtown the two of them had a conversation. These are only excerpts, as filtered through my imperfect recollection.

He was from China; he had been here in Vancouver about a month. She had been here for seventeen years, but he didn't hear her say so, because he was carrying on one of his own thoughts from before at the same time. He had recently graduated from high school, and was here, apparently, preparing to go to UBC.

"Do you like your country?" she asked. "What?" "Do you... Do you like China? Is China good?" "Oh. Yes!" "Ha ha, that's good. Are you -- " "China is cool!"

"How long have you been here?" he said, because he had not heard her before. "Oh, a long time," she said. "Twenty years?" "No, no. Seventeen years!" "Ahh. Where are you from?" "Ethiopia." "Ethi...?" "Ethiopia. East Africa. You know, Kenya, Ethiopia, Sudan, Egypt..." "Ahh. Ethiopia. Like, in the Olympics!" "Yes, yes, that's right." "Africa." "Yes. Not West Africa, though! That's, that's Africa. Afro-America. No. I am from East Africa."

She was happy to be living here; she thought that he would like it, too. "It is nice here. Very, very beautiful. Friendly. Peace, peace, lots of peace." "The prisons are nice," he said. Prisons? Was he making fun of her? "Eh?" "The prisons are nice." But she took it in stride. "Yes, yes. Peace everywhere. It is good. Not so much of that war and fighting. In East Africa, Ethiopia sometimes, phwoo, oh my God!"

"Do you believe in Jesus?" "No," he said. "No? What do you believe in?" "I am... Not religious." "No? Oh my God, oh my God!" she laughed. "So you are just like, woo!" and she made an expansive gesture with her arms, as though indicating a person scattering in all directions. "Yes, that is me." "Here, here, I have something for you." She opened her purse, and removed some little cards with religious scenes printed on them. He took a couple. "Ah. Jesus," he said, cautiously identifying the main figure in the picture. "Yes. These are for you. Keep them with you. The story on the back of that one is very nice. It's good. Keep them in your purse."

"I like Korean food," she said. "You like Korean food?" he repeated. "Yes, I like Korean food, and Japan food. Chinese food, I have never tried that. No one ever takes me to it! But many of my friends are Korean." "I really like Japanese food," he said. "You do? I like it, too. I would like to try Chinese food. I hear that it is very hot. I like that." "Yes, I like Japanese food. But I love my country!"
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Once more, I've answered people's questions on books. (All of those but the last are written from a perspective assuming that the addressed has also read it, although I avoided spoilers.) Check out the rest of the thread for further remarks from commenters including cola's story of how he stole something from the library once.

Speaking of libraries, this is a clumsy segue. I tend to disambiguate the three library systems I patronize in my own head by referring to the NVDPL as the 'District Library', the NVCL as the 'City Library', and the VPL as the 'VPL'. Recently it's occurred to me that the second of these, at least, is useful to nobody but me, since anyone else will (and does) naturally assume that when I say 'City Library', the city I'm talking about is downtown.

Speaking of things I got from the libraries, and since graphic novels don't come up in my novel-reading posts, I want to register that Scott Pilgrim is really good. No, better than that.

I finished both of my essays due the beginning of this last week on time; the one for Ethics was just barely the minimum length, and the one for Existentialism was about a page over the stated maximum, which I think indicates mostly that Existentialism is harder to talk about. It's interesting that, when I'm not actually engaged in writing an essay, I forget what the composition actually feels like; I can already feel it fading out to something vague and nebulous that, when it comes up again next term, I'll mostly have to assume that I can do out of a sort of faith in history. Meanwhile, I have two finals left -- Existentialism, tomorrow, and then Japanese on Thursday, neither of which I have studied for quite so much as I should -- and then the jewels will be ours -- forever!
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First, Saturday, the day of my birthday party; )

then, Sunday, a day of misadventure. )

Monday was anticlimax and anticipation. )

Now, it's now; still basically Monday. It's still not actively snowing, and everything is kind of holding its breath. I printed off my English essay, did some kanji homework, wrote this entry, and go back to waiting with the rest.

I went up

Aug. 5th, 2006 01:44 am
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On Tuesday I was at Langara, and I saw a posting on a job board there asking for native English speakers to participate in a linguistics study being done at SFU. "That sounds interesting," I thought; so I took one of the contact information paper tendrils from the bottom (I was the only person who had done so) so that I could e-mail them later.

(As you know, Vancouver readers, 'SFU' is Simon Fraser University, one of the two big universities in the city; the other is UBC. I realized today that I actually have a habit of thinking 'UBC' to myself when I mean 'SFU', probably both because it's the more euphonious of the three-letter university names and because UBC tends to pop up a lot more in my life. I managed not, quite, to do this out loud to anyone. SFU always makes me think of my Sociology professor, who, in a discussion of academia seen as elite and set apart from the rest of society, was amused that it's actually on a mountaintop.)

Today, as a direct result of taking that piece of paper, I went to UBC^H^H^HSFU for the very first time. I was struck by the architecture, which seemed marvellous and impractical, giving the impression of being a maze even when directions were fairly straightforward. There were courtyards and landings with stairways leading off in improbable directions, and walkways, and many-storied buildings with outside entrances on each of their floors. It was like being in some relative of Ico's castle. Naturally and immediately lost, I managed to enlist a voluble lady university employee of some description to direct me and to walk me part of the way; she had no idea where the phonetics lab was, personally, but once I pulled the location out of my e-mail on one of the computers there ('RCB 7301'), we were able by careful scrutiny to find where I was to go on a map painted discreetly on one of the interior walls, so I was in the end only fifteen minutes late.

The experiment itself involved sitting at a computer whose fans laboured alarmingly; the 'a' on its keyboard had been labeled with a large 'L', and the number pad's '5' with a large 'R'. I was told to rest my forefingers on these. The computer would flash a sentence in English (like "The girl rides a bicycle"), and then a pair of pictures, and I would press the appropriate button to choose which of the pictures , the right or the left, better illustrated the sentence.

I figured out what was going on pretty quickly, which was that the sentence would be either in the present or the past tense, and then the pictures would illustrate each of these; there would be one, for example, of the girl speeding along on her bicycle, and one of her getting off of it, looking exercised. Once I realized this, of course, I started to second-guess myself, despite my best intentions. It is probably precisely to limit this tendency that I had a three-second time limit on choosing, but that led to another problem, which is that I would sometimes choose something by accident just because that finger was feeling particularly twitchy. I stumbled, corrected, and stumbled in the other direction; sometimes, and maybe most times in the end, I managed to go with my first impulse. One thing I noticed, which was a genuine reaction and not a studied one, was that I often tended to want to choose the present-tense picture for the past tense sentences; that is, that when I read, "The grandmother watered the plants," what I picture is the grandmother who is industriously watering, and not the one that, it's implied, has put down the watering can and maybe died since. This might be common sense, or it might be because I've read a lot of fiction from an early age.

After that the woman running it asked if I had an extra fifteen minutes to participate in another experiment, and I said that sure I had, so she put me in a soundproof booth, with a microphone, and showed me cards with words on them which I was supposed to say. (At the beginning I said, "I am Speaker 308," and before each word I said, "Now I say...". These were my instructions and I held to them.) It felt very strange inside the booth; the sealed-up silence sort of hummed high-pitched in my ears. The words were all 'p' words: 'paw', 'pa', 'pat', 'pet', 'pit', etc.; the release form said that they were studying perceptions of vowels.

So, that was actually a lot of fun. In the end, I spent about half an hour there, and they gave me ten dollars for it; it's somewhat embarrassing how significantly this increased the amount of money I currently have in the world. I think I'm going to start selling things on eBay, not least because I want to buy some people birthday presents this month.

On my way to SFU, I thought, 'I wonder if seeing this campus will make an enormous change in my future, because I will fall in love with it and decide to go there, instead of to UBC, eventually, as I currently dimly plan'. Then I thought, that isn't going to happen, because I thought of it beforehand, and things like that surprise you. This is an example of the ways I think when I'm not bothering to be carefully rational; actually, I think these ways then, too, but I ignore them. Anyway, I indeed had no epiphanies about the future, although I liked the campus a lot.

On the way home I saw an unusual number of neat t-shirts (my favourite: "the rock is a culture"), people (including an unusually skilled and enthusiastic girl busking with her guitar outside the Granville station), advertisements (what on earth do they mean by that new one promoting the transit police?), and errata (a sticky label attached to a bus stop that said, "Stop consuming animals!"). Maybe I was just looking.

The weather was also very nice.
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I don't like the heat; longtime readers and acquaintances have probably heard me remark before on my wimpiness regarding non-temperate temperatures. This was probably instilled in me by Vancouver, and it's certainly one of the reasons I appreciate it here, because as hot as I am, I would almost certainly be hotter in just about any of the places I've traveled to. Nonetheless it is too hot. I've started sometimes wearing shorts in public, even though I'm convinced that whenever I wear shorts I basically look like the hit men in the latter part of Pulp Fiction.

I do like the way it feels to step outside at 9:00 at night and have the sky still be light, like it's on my side. I'd forgotten how nice that is. And I like the leftover warmth of the air, in the early nighttime, when the sun is finally down.

I wanted to write something in response to this long and interesting post by Jo Walton, but I've put it off for a while, and now I can't recall everything I wanted to say. My own background is that I have no talent for lying, but I used to do it habitually, anyway; this stopped feeling necessary when I came to Windsor House and my environment stopped being hostile, and so I was able to gradually phase most of it out, the same way I worked my way free of the habit of lashing out at people physically. There's still the occasional inclination left over, to simplify an explanation unnecessarily, or to pretend I don't understand something when I do. (I'll bet that gets annoying! If it's any consolation, I sometimes really don't understand.)

One nice thing that having been a habitual liar does, at least for me, is to provide a firm residual habit of keeping track of what I think is actually true. This doesn't mean that I'm incapable of deceiving myself, but I'm at least able to make it difficult, and to correct myself early if I notice myself saying something that doesn't seem accurate.

Ms. Walton's main reason given to avoid being a liar is what she after Shakespeare calls the 'tangled web', the way that, having lied, it is necessary to maintain that lie, and to keep track of it, and to shore it up with others, and to let people be invested in it, all of these things, if you don't catch it immediately and you don't want to lose anyone's trust. And that's very stressful, and it can often lead someone to tell the sort of lies that are really harmful, because they hurt or attack someone. I agree that that's a good reason. It's a matter of responsibility to oneself; your quality of life gets a lot better, at least in my experience, when you're mostly describing what you really think is so.

What I think I wanted to talk about is that I think we have a responsibility to each other, too; Jo Walton doesn't really touch on this, and maybe she'd even disagree. The thing is that lying is a prisoner's dilemma: the same way that it makes our lives better to feel like we can safely go around telling the truth, it makes our lives better to have those around us doing the same thing -- and, conversely, if we're being honest but nobody else around us is, we're probably even worse off than we would be otherwise. So it seems to me that at least as important a reason to be truthful is to create an environment where it's safe for other people to be truthful, which is a useful environment to have for the obvious reasons that it makes it a lot simpler to communicate with words, or to cooperate to solve problems. (And, in addition to and tangled up with that, there's just my visceral sense of justice.)

Neko Case is playing in Vancouver, tonight; I'd really like to see her (Zulu says it's not sold out yet), but I probably can't justify it. It's getting into the July birthday run, and I am relatively broke.

And then

May. 27th, 2006 05:02 pm
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I'm back.

I saw Keely the Friday before I left, by happenstance on Commercial Drive; she had just come back from Cuba, and she was really tanned, which may have predisposed me to think about this in terms of tans. I have not physically tanned this trip, but I have a tan of the mind, a strange cultural surface colouration that will take a while to fade. It will be at least a day or two before it feels natural to thank someone for a service in english, without bowing.

I thought that there would be more of that; that the not-Japan in Vancouver would be more sharp and shocking for me. But the plane ride provided a kind of liminal decompression, a ritual transition, so that by the time I was here the familiar shapes, colours and language seemed almost natural. Here I am, then. It's the first time I've ever come back to my city from a place that made it look drab.

My moustache is too long (though not unsightly, just uncomfortable), and my mind and prose are stumbling a little from the lack of sleep, and I haven't listened to music of my own choice in three weeks, and I kind of smell. I'll correct all of these, eventually, as I grow generally less tanned.

This trip was huge; I feel like I only wrote about the barest outlines of it, here. There wasn't time; the rest wouldn't fit. I feel like I should apologize for that. I wish I could have given the whole thing, in exacting detail.

There will be pictures.
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I think that Perpetual Dream Theory have got better; there was a deftness that I don't think was there before, and a sort of intensity, and a couple of laptops, and euphoria, on my part, though that's maybe the hardest bit to quantify. Using the laptops and the deftness, they did some things with "Angels of Search and Rescue" that I think made for my favourite performance of that song that they've ever done, including the one on the first album.

In other ways, they haven't changed: not emotionally, where, although there were something like eighty people there (sitting in carefully set out chairs), the room felt small, and they moved like they knew us. The drummer is still by far the most fun band member to watch. Gordon Breckenridge's voice still sneaks in for powerful and unexpected harmonies, and, on the whole, he still doesn't sing as much as I'd like him to.

Andrew came, and sat next to me, and melted gum all over his hands. "Now I have a superpower," he told me after the show. "My superpower is that, if I grab hold of someone, I can't let go."

I went up to say hi to Gordon (who "sort of remembered" me), collected my sticky companion, and smiled the whole way home.

I'm not sure that I like the new album as much as I liked the live show; it's short, and I'm not sure how cohesive it is. The individual songs, though, are very good.

Escalation

Dec. 7th, 2005 03:01 pm
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"An armed society is a polite society."

I'm not sure what one does about this. Although I tend to like gun control laws, in concept, of course passing a law against something isn't really a very effective way to keep it from happening. What's needed is a general culture of not-guns - and although I'd have some idea how to go about it in a community of about the size and good will of Windsor House, on this sort of scale I really don't know how to get that back, once it starts to go.

This isn't what I expect from Vancouver.
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Rachel has said, in the past, that she wouldn't want to live somewhere with a lot of tall buildings, because she wouldn't want to stop being amazed. Recently, I've been having cause to reflect how happy I am that I do - that I am able, as I said to J. when he was here, to take the skyscrapers[1] for granted as features of the landscape - to make my way every day out between these towering, strange, inscrutable monuments, and accept them as ordinary and familiar. Life as Miyazaki, the wondrous spilling over into everything.

Over the past few days, though, it's occurred to me that I may have a similar relationship (to Rachel's with the buildings) with snow; a lot of places, including Vancouver, have been snowed upon, and in among the pleased or amazed livejournal entries I have seen the occasional curmudgeonly comment from someone for whom it's much more commonplace, and who cannot stand the stuff. I feel wistful, the years when we don't get any, but I'm glad to live somewhere where snow is rare enough that I see it as a cause for wonder, and not as a nuisance.

It isn't so simple, of course: my familiarity with the skyscrapers has not made me contemptuous of them. I'm sure that there are many people who live someplace with snow every Christmas, and still love it fiercely. But I'm grateful for what is plentiful, and I'm grateful for what is scarce, and I still like my city very much.

([1]: They scrape the sky! What a wonderfully evocative word to find hidden and unremarked in our everyday language. That is what the structures themselves are like.)
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I wonder if I could get more comments using the busker's trick, and putting, as it were, a coin of my own into the hat? I'm having a lot of trouble punctuating that sentence.

The second-most notable thing that fell on November 19th this year was a bunch of civic elections in BC. I didn't vote (I might have voted early, but I didn't educate myself in time), but I do get to congratulate Marilee's mother, who is now a Vancouver City Council Member, and Windsor House parent Susan Skinner, who was elected to the North Van school board. Hooray!

Ever since I've been home, the city has been swallowed in fog. I can't see even the water from my house; each area discovers itself only as I'm upon it. It feels like a metaphor, nervously paused and incomplete.

Continuity

Oct. 24th, 2005 07:53 pm
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Among the election signs beginning to crop up in my neighbourhood is one that says,
Re-elect
ALAN
NIXON


So I guess he got elected the first time around.

(Tess says that the upcoming municipal election may include another STV referendum, but I'm not sure that I believe that; it doesn't seem to make much sense.)

When I first grew a beard, I felt quite as though I'd been quietly inducted into the universal fraternity of bearded men. Even when I'm clean-shaven, nowadays, when I see a guy with a beard on the bus my first thought is, "Ah! There is one of my fellows," before I remember that I'm incognito, and he won't see the same.
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There was this fellow sitting on the bus this morning, perhaps in his late twenties, short-haired, sharp-faced, in a rumpled suit; I'm not very good at gauging these things by accent and complexion, but I think that he was somehow middle eastern. At one point he took out a large wad of money, and as he began to sort through it, a loonie fell to the ground. He picked it up, dropped it again, and leaned to pick it up again. At this point I guess I turned away for a while; somehow it followed that he managed to come to be sitting on the loonie, and unable to find it, until a woman sitting across from him helpfully pointed out that he might find it if he stood up.

He did so, and then, perhaps by way of embarrassed explanation, he tried to start a conversation with the woman. Unfortunately, she clearly found his accent impenetrable. The exchange went something like this:

"I am not from British Columbia. I am visitor here."

"Mm?"

"I am visitor to your city. [Something else that I couldn't quite make out]"

"What?"

"I am from capital of Canada. House of Commons, you understand that?"

"What?"

"House of Commons!"

And he scowled and turned pointedly away from her, just as though he were the one who had just been subjected to an obnoxious tourist. After a minute or two of sitting like that, twisted toward the front of the bus, he (checked his pockets suspiciously to make sure he had all his change and) went up and asked the bus driver if the latter could "let him off" at Burrard and Georgia (I think he also said something about an 'embassy', but I'm not sure what). The bus driver assured him that this would be in keeping with the general practise. Then the fellow came back up the aisle and paused to announce to all of us, in an expansive way,

"I am from capital of Canada! House of Commons!"

It was about this point that I began naturally to suspect that the man was actually some sort of fantastically inept spy, who had chosen for his cover story citizenship of a city whose name he actually didn't know. I listened with fascination as he proceeded to the back doors and began to talk loudly on his cell phone, but all I could gather was that he was talking about a plane trip he planned soon to take. Astonished murmurs regarding the fellow swelled between my fellow passengers; eventually, we reached Burrard, and he got off as promised.

The next stop was mine; as I got up to go to the door, I could have sworn I saw the woman he'd been talking to speaking, quietly, into her iPod. So I guess she was also a spy. I'll bet her side is winning.

The buses may or may not be shut down tomorrow, though at least one of my classes will be going ahead despite the prospective teachers' strike. I guess we'll see if I can go in.

I am home!

Sep. 2nd, 2005 07:51 pm
garran: (Default)
Hi, everyone! Among nice things about being back in Vancouver:

  • My nail scissors, which I couldn't take because of the plane. That got awfully uncomfortable near the end.

  • On the way home from the airport yesterday, I saw more than twenty Chinese restaurants. St. John's had, like, three, and spotting one was an event. (What's more, I'll bet you a big shining ball of human faith that every one of those twenty serves chow mein with noodles.)

  • A city that knows me. I am less hapless here than anywhere else in the world.

    (That's still pretty hapless.)

Today I bought my books for Langara.
garran: (Default)
Interesting how this seems to make some people more cheerful to contemplate, and some people less. I fell mostly into the former camp.

Not because you have to, but because you WANT to! Things you enjoy, even when no one around you wants to go out and play. What lowers your stress/blood pressure/anxiety level? Make a list, post it to your journal... and then tag 5 friends and ask them to post it to theirs.

(The strangest and most interesting piece of those instructions is the second sentence, which seems to forbid the mention of phone conversation, or physical affection, or my AD&D game, or silly and joyful late-night contact with Rachel, or anything else that requires a willing participant besides myself. I haven't seen anyone else try to comply with this, but I think that I will.)

It starts with 'reading' )

I don't really care enough about the 'tagging' aspect of this particular game to bother, not to mention that my supply of candidates has been fairly comprehensively tapped. On the off-chance that someone reading this has been yearning to get tagged and hasn't yet, well, I know it's not the same, but you certainly have my permission to take the thing.
garran: (Default)
1. I'm thinking about my earliest days on the internet, which got me thinking about Keri and Vanessa, who were around at the time. We'd begun to design together our own fantasy world, called Ankersa, which was a name, as the discerning reader may already have, er, discerned, derived from combined components of our own names. We were each in charge of developing one of the three major races. I'd like to look back at the notes, and see just how worthy or silly it was, but I'm pretty sure none of us properly took any.

It gets harder to play with other people - to engage in that sort of unselfconscious shared creation. The sort of thing I had with Ankersa, or the Game, or some of WEM - though never quite with most of Waitility, which we've always been a little too careful about. It's something I try not to fret about too often, because fixating on it would probably make it harder to achieve, but I look for it, quietly, and sometimes I can find it.

(And once, it was mine at a phone call, which is one piece of an old and varied regret.)

P.S. As I periodically feel it necessary to announce, Keri's weblog is pretty awesome.

2. It's tasted like Summer for a while; now the heat is catching up. The nicest part of this is the night time and the evenings, when it gets cool but it's still warm.

One of the buildings in the cityscape has decided to build a garish neon stripe up the side facing us. I'm not sure that I like the effect.

This isn't something I say very often, but I guess I need to find a job.

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garran: (Default)
Andy H.

February 2013

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